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India Brazil

Published: 3rd Feb, 2020

Jair Bolsonaro, president of Federative Republic of Brazil, visited to India as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chief guest for the 71st Republic Day.



Jair Bolsonaro, president of Federative Republic of Brazil, visited to India as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chief guest for the 71st Republic Day.


  • Brazilian president was on a state visit to India during January 24-27, accompanied by ministers, members of parliament, and a large business delegation.
  • This is the third time a Brazilian president will be chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
  • This is also Bolsonaro’s first visit to India.
  • The last time a Brazilian head of state attended Republic Day was in 2004.
  • As part of this visit, India-Brazil Business Forum was held in New Delhi.
  • Brazil is the largest country in South America. It has a population of 210 million and a $1.8 trillion economy.


India-Brazil History

  • Portugal’s Pedro Alvares was on his way to India and was blown off course, only to discover Brazil in 1500.
  • He made Brazil a stop-over to finally reach Goa.
  • This led to the Portuguese association between India and Brazil and exchange of varied agricultural crops and cattle in the colonial times.
  • Brazil opposed India’s move in 1961 to liberate Goa from Portuguese rule.
  • Ever since then the relationship between the two nations has been lukewarm.
  • Trade relationship and diplomacy eventually developed between the two.
  • Diplomatic relations were established between India and Brazil in 1948.
  • In 1967, both countries condemned the idea of creating Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Plurilateral fora

  • Today both nations are members of plurilateral fora such as BRICS, IBSA, G-20, and are members of multilateral bodies such as the United Nations.
  • In 2015, representatives of the five states of BRICS, launched their New Development Bank (NDB). This was outlined in the Fortaleza declaration in 2014.
  • In 2003, India, Brazil and South Africa set up IBSA, an important forum for dialogue among the three emerging countries.
  • BRICS and IBSA are multilateral groupings that provide these two with a “soft balancing” strategy that resents the dominant views of the West.
  • Both have campaigned for a UN Security Council permanent seat for each other.
  • Brazil played a crucial role in India-Mercosur Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) that improved India’s access to the large South American market.
  • CELAC, has marked a new phase in international relations between India and Latin America.
  • Ultimately both nations are considered as emerging powers with great power aspirations.

Foreign policy

  • Like India, Brazil also intends to preserve autonomy in its foreign policy.
  • The Brazilian foreign policy of reciprocal multilateralism is in concurrence with India's policy of strategic autonomy.

Differences between India and Brazil

  • While India has a history dating back thousands of years, anciently settled and a cradle of civilization. Brazil on the other hand is a much younger country.
  • The two countries share little in common ethnically or religiously.
  • Other than in Goa, there is no common language: Goan Portuguese
  • Even in there sports, i.e. Soccer and cricket, they are very different.
  • Earlier Brazil had approached the WTO against India for extending support to Indian sugarcane growers.

Commonalities between India and Brazil

  • Both countries are vigorous
  • Political landscape is full of many political parties.
  • The press in both countries is robust, free and quite feisty.
  • States are politically influential and economically powerful, and commercial success often requires engagement at both the national and state levels.
  • Both countries are rich in human resources.
  • Both economies are driven by expanding middle classes clamouring for improved public services.
  • Consumers in both are value-conscious, demanding durability and affordability.
  • Both countries face similar challenges in their development curve.
  • Both countries are multipolarism-oriented and want to give voice to the ‘global south’.

Dovetailing interests:

  • Brazil — whose ties with neighbouring Argentina has deteriorated — looks to upgrade its trade partnership with India and tap its rapidly growing market.
  • New Delhi on the other hand is keen to exploit possibilities in resource-rich Latin America. And given that India is energy hungry, it can tap the oil resources of the region.


  • Brazil is one of the most important trading partners of India in the entire LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) region.
  • Bilateral trade between India and Brazil is currently worth $8.2 billion.
  • India to Brazil: Indian exports to Brazil account for $3.8 billion, which includes agro-chemicals, synthetic yarns, auto parts, nuclear reactors, boilers, pharmaceuticals and petroleum products.
  • Brazil to India: Brazilian exports to India include crude oil, gold, vegetable oil, sugar, soya oil, and bulk mineral and ores.
  • The actual commerce between the nations is minuscule. Total trade value between the two nations has barely grown since 2004; $1.5 billion to $8.2 billion.
  • Meanwhile, Brazil’s trade with China has ballooned from $4 billion to over $100 billion in the same period.
  • There is a lot of potential for trade to grow between the two nations.
  • India-Brazil has now set a target of $15 billion trade by 2022.

Bilateral investment treaty

  • 15 MoUs were signed during the visit of the President of Brazil.
  • MoUs of cooperation were signed on investments, trade facilitation, social security, agriculture, defence and double taxation.
  • For benefit of India business and tourism between two countries, visa free travel was given to Indians.
  • India and Brazil signed 15 agreements to cement cooperation in areas ranging from energy and trade and investment to cyber security and information technology.
  • Brazilian investments in India are mainly in automobiles, IT, mining, energy and biofuel.
  • India has invested in Brazil's IT, pharmaceutical, energy, agri-business, mining and engineering.
  • The Social Security Agreement (SSA) signed between Brazil and India in 2017, will allow investments in each other’s pension funds.


  • Brazil and India signed a bilateral ‘Defence Cooperation Agreement’ in 2003 that calls for cooperation in defence related matters, especially in the field of Research and Development, acquisition and logistic support.
  • Under the framework of the agreement, a ‘Joint Defence Committee (JDC)’ has been set-up that meets at regular interval.

Soft power

  • The first classical Indian art form to come to Brazil was Bharatanatyam; Odissi, Kathak and Kuchipudi
  • India’s services in wellness sector like Yoga and Ayurveda is expected to grow as Brazil has a strong community of Yoga and Ayurveda practitioners.
  • Brazil has an association of Ayurveda (ABRA), a non-profit association with offices in 9 states of Brazil and members all over Brazil.
  • The third International Congress on Ayurveda was held from 12 to 15 March 2018 in Rio de Janeiro.

Animal husbandry

  • Animal husbandry was another area that was identified for cooperation.
  • There is common genetic heritage in cattle in India and Brazil.
  • Both have agreed to collaborate in assisted reproductive technology that is expected to help increase dairy production in India.
  • A Centre of Excellence in Cattle Genomics will be set up in India with Brazilian assistance.

Curbing terrorism

  • Both countries identified terrorism and climate change as two such subjects where the share similar opinions.


  • India is one of the world’s biggest oil importers, and needs to diversify its energy needs from the Gulf.
  • Iraq remains its top supplier but in recent times India has started importing more crude from the US (a 72% jump in first five months of 2019).
  • The instability in Gulf, US-Iran confrontation and threats of secondary sanctions from the US may drive India further away from middle-east.
  • This is where Brazil, one of world’s top 10 oil exporters, can be a big opportunity for India.

Potential between India and Brazil

  • Agribusiness is the most immediate and obvious opportunity. Complementary growing seasons and sizeable internal markets make the two countries ideally suited for partnerships in agriculture.
  • The year-round sugar crushing in both countries can be leveraged to become one of the largest global sugar producers.
  • Promoting Brazilian ethanol exports to India will help Indian farmers implement a more efficient ethanol programme that reduces reliance on subsidies and helps improve urban India’s air quality.
  • Opportunities are abound in clean energy. Each could benefit from a cross-fertilization of investment in solar power.


The decade long bilateral strategic partnership between India and Brazil is based on a common global vision, shared democratic values, and a commitment to foster economic growth with social inclusion for the welfare of the people of both countries.


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